All of us at Willy Lit Fest mourn the loss of our founding Patron, friend and supporter Joan Kirner. Joan was deeply involved in our festival from its very beginnings: she inspired the launch of our writing prizes the Adas, acting as judge, presenter and mentor. Joan added lustre and grace to our prize-givings and openings. She was generous with her time, inspiring with her speeches and unfailingly gracious and obliging, despite the demands on her time as a busy ex-Premier and elder stateswoman.
She was the perfect role model: decent, funny, clever, an inspiring mentor…the perfect teacher: particularly to the many aspiring young writers, like gifted poet Chloe Wilson, with whom she forged a special bond during their Ada judging days. Chloe is pictured with Joan and our other beloved WLF icon, the late Robin Grove, at the 2008 Ada prize announcements.
Joan was a great community person and that’s why we loved her. In 2010, after a bout of ill health, she stepped down as an active Patron. Typically, she made sure we had a terrific successor ready to step in in the wonderful Terry Bracks. As Terry said on assuming the role: who can say No to Joan!
So Vale dear Joan. We will miss you next week at our festival; you have truly made your mark and your legacy: especially your literary legacy, will live on.
Our heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family.